Dark Characters in the Wheel of Time series
The Dark One
Another name for Shai'tan, the Shadow. Verin says the Dark One is the "embodiment of paradox and chaos, destroyer of reason and logic, breaker of balance, the unmasker of order". (Dragon 188) Sheriam tells Egwene that the ability to channel confers a weakness, that those who can channel can be turned to the Dark One (TDR 'Sealed').
Speaking the true name of the Dark One is believed to bring misfortune on the speaker, so there are many alternative names for him:
- Father of Lies
- Lord of the Grave
- Shepherd of the Night
- Old Grim
The Forsaken are the thirteen "apostles," so to speak, of the Dark One. Amongst each other and the Darkfriends, they are known as The Chosen.
Ishar Marrad Chuain was a renowned biologist and Aes Sedai. It is said that no others understood molecules and genes the way he did. He was banned from doing any genetic engineering - his true passion - by the Hall of Servants, after conducting some experiments on animals. He turned to the Shadow about three decades into the Collapse. With the Dark One's consent, Aginor was finally allowed to experiment with genetics. It was he who created the Trollocs, Draghkar, Darkhounds, gholam and jumara. It is estimated that in order to do this, 35 to 50 million people were killed, not including the ones fed to Trollocs.
Although proud of his achievements, the human throwback from the Trollocs made him uneasy. Aginor created Trollocs by mixing human and animal stock. When Trollocs mated, most of the offspring were Trolloc, but sometimes the human stock dominated: these were the Myrddraal. It is said that not even Aginor knew how Myrddraal got their dark powers, like the ability to see with no eyes, or to vanish in the shadows.
When the Chosen were sealed in the Bore, Aginor was closest to the seal, along with Balthamel, so that while his soul was preserved, his body was subjected to the process of aging. When he was released he was one of the first, but he was not recognisable, described as being old beyond old. His skin was like thin parchment, his scabby scalp had bits of tuffy white hair, his ears looked like old leather, his teeth yellowed, and his eyes sunken. His fingernails had disappeared.
He and Balthamel travelled to the Eye of the World, where he killed Someshta, the Last of the Nym. In doing so, Someshta killed Balthamel. Rand and Aginor then battled for the pure saidin of the Eye of the World, with Rand winning.
Aginor was recreated as Osan'gar. Posing as Corlan Dashiva, a farmer from the Black Hills, he was recruited to the Black Tower, and became an Asha'man close to Rand. In retrospect, there were many hints that Dashiva was Aginor/Osan'gar: he hated exercise and bad weather; his suggestion to Flinn helped create a new way of healing, lost since the Age of Legends; and whenever the Asha'man are described as doing something, Dashiva always does something different. (Quintessential example: Rand, showing off, throws fire from his palms; the Asha'man throw fireballs in every direction, "all save Dashiva," who draws lightning across the sky instead.)
He and some others deserted Rand after an assassination plot failed. They waited for him in Fel Moran, and Osan'gar tried to kill Rand when Rand was using the Choedan Kal to cleanse saidin, but was killed by Elza who was ironically Black Ajah.
A Forsaken of no great significance, his real name is Joar Addam Nesossin. A musician and composer during the Age of Legends, he swore fealty to the Dark One so that he could spend eternity perfecting his craft, and he used his dark powers to destroy his rivals.
Asmodean battles Rand in Rhuidean, and loses when Rand severs his link to the Dark One. Lanfear then shields Asmodean so that he can only channel "a trickle", and instructs him to train Rand in the Power. Asmodean was known among the Forsaken for his habit of oft-traitorously throwing his lot in with whoever he thought would win, which perhaps explains why the Forsaken did not attempt to rescue him. Disguised as a gleeman named Jasin Natael, he trains Rand diligently and without signs of treachery, and as time passes it seems as if he might genuinely want to join the side of the Light.
He is assassinated suddenly in Caemlyn, after he helps Rand defeat Rahvin. As of the tenth book the killer's identity and motive are still unknown, although this external web page ( (http://www.linuxmafia.com/jordan/1_dark/1.1_forsaken1/1.1.6_asmo.html)) contains detailed speculation. The best ideas however, are that Graendal and Sammael, who might have been there at the time, did it, or that Lanfear came to kill him. Although some Forsaken are reincarnated with different names, it is unlikely that Asmodean will ever return, since the Dark One tells Demandred that Asmodean, along with Rahvin, "died the final death."
Eval Ramman was a historian in the Age of Legends, focusing on vanished civilizations and studied at the M'Jinn. Although a good scholar, he had a much seedier alter-ego. He would fraternise with the lowest criminals in bars, he womanized, and was extremely reckless with a short temper, and was forbidden to do any violence. It was this other side of him that probably lost him his chance at receiving the much honoured and coveted third name.
It was the promise of immortality that lured Eval to the Shadow sometime in the middle of the Collapse. His activities in the War are unknown, other than that he set up camps for humans to be turned into Trolloc food. When he was sealed in the Bore with the other Chosen, he experienced the same phenomenon as Aginor. Trapped at the top of the Seal, his body was subjected to age, maybe even more so than Aginor's. His face was completely disfigured, and his tongue had long since withered away. He covered his body completely and wore a mask of a young man laughing.
He and Aginor waited at the Eye of the World for Moiraine, Someshta and Company. Ever the womanizer, he manhandled Nynaeve. He burned Someshta, the Last of the Nym, but not before he grabbed Balthamel, rotting him to death. Along with Aginor, his soul was reincarnated into Aran'gar, a beautiful woman. She infiltrated the Salidar Aes Sedai, became the secretary of Delana and then Egwene's maid. She secretly gives her headaches, but also cures them for her. Egwene is pretty much at her mercy.
The Forsaken for whom not much is known about. We do know that his real name was Dural Laddel Cham, he was a general in the war against the Shadow and he was a friend of Lews Therin Telamon but was also very envious of him. His nickname was the Envious because not only did he envy the Dragon but Elan Morin and Mierin as well. It is said he once beat the Dragon at stones, and bragged about his victory forever.
He was tall and athletic, with close cropped white hair. He was also called the Netweaver, as he was such a clever manipulator and tactician, as well as being patient. It is said that after turning to the Shadow, he probably ran an intelligence network which rivalled Moghedien's. It is also known that he took part in razing the Hall of Servants.
After being released from the Bore, he became the High Lord Samon, and took over Tear. He desired Callandor very much, and set a trap for Rand. This is because only the Dragon Reborn could retake Callandor. He urged Rand to take it, then hoped to kill him and take the sa'angreal for himself. Moiraine killed him with balefire before he could do so.
Almost is the story of Barid Bel Medar's life. He was born one day after Lews Therin Telamon, almost his age. He was almost handsome, other than his hawk nose. He was the second most acclaimed man of the Age of Legends, holding high offices and writing books, not quite so high or successful as Lews Therin. For this reason, he hated Lews with every ounce of his soul, more so than Sammael. He even desired Lews Therin's wife, Ilyena.
Barid Bel Medar turned out to be a great general for the Light, a gambler whose risks on the battlefield paid off. When Lews Therin Telamon became Commander of the forces of the Light, Medar could no longer contain his hatred, thinking Lews nothing more than a lucky fool. In the third year of the War of Power, he turned to the Shadow, becoming one of their best generals.
Since escaping from the seal, he has been scheming with Mesaana and Semirhage. Other than ordering the death of Rand at least once, his plans have yet to be revealed. Many readers believe him to be Mazrim Taim, the leader of the Black Tower, but this is not so. Why? Other than Jordan's personal assurance that this is not so, there are many other clues throughout the books.
Kamarile Maradim Nindar was once a respected physician. Though strong in the One Power, her true fame came from her insight into the human mind, and she was well-versed in the healing of mental afflictions that the One Power could not aid. She was also a distinct ascetic, living an unadorned life.
Her downfall came in her perfectionism. She was highly critical in person and no one could live up her standards because they were simply too high. Disappointed at the world, she turned to the Shadow, becoming the second person to swear her soul in allegiance to the Great Lord of the Dark.
Her alter ego, Graendal, is a creature of decadence and excess. One of the most physically beautiful women to have ever walked the earth, she habitually wears extremely revealing garmentry and extensive jewellery and keeps only the most attractive men and women near her as her servants. Though she has never led armies for the Shadow, she is well-versed in intrigue and shadow plotting; her knowledge of the human mind has also led to an unparalleled skill in the use of Compulsion. At present she is hiding in Arad Doman under the disguise of the ailing Lady Basene. She has also collaborated with Demandred and Sammael against the Dragon Reborn, though neither of their plots, thus far, has come to much good.
AKA Ba'alzamon, AKA Moridin
Elan Morin Tedronai was a philosopher and theologian during the Age of Legends, writing many books including "Analysis of Perceived Meaning", "Reality and the Absence of Meaning" and "Disassembly of Reason". He had white teeth, dark eyes and a mellifluous voice. During the Collapse, he theorized that the coming struggle between souls of Lews Therin Telamon and the Dark One were not new to this world; they had, in fact, existed since the dawn of time in a cycle, using human pawns. He believed that the Dark One would be the winner, and so became one of the first Chosen. He became the Dark One's champion, as his powers were almost equal to Lews Therin's. He declared his allegiance at a conference of Aes Sedai, arguing that the Light was the losing side. As he was a celebrity his proclamation sparked riots. It was the masses who gave him his name: Ishamael, Betrayer of Hope. During the war he did not hold any positions on the field; however, he was defeated by Lews at the gates of Paaren Disen.
An interesting phenomenon occurred when Ishamael was sealed with the other Forsaken. It seemed that he was only half sealed, a bit like Aginor and Balthamel, except his soul was allowed to be released in the world for a set amount of time. The leading expert on this theory was Aran son of Malan, an Ogier historian, who deduced that Ishamael was released from the prison on multiples of forty years. It is believed that Ishamael was responsible for every major crisis since the Breaking, including the Trolloc Wars and the War of a Hundred Years, as well as the founding of the Black Ajah. In FY 973 he came to Artur Hawkwing's court posing as Jalwin Moerad, and became his top advisor, wrecking the empire Hawkwing had built. He advised Hawkwing to dismiss all Aes Sedai from his service, lay siege to Tar Valon, send his armies across the ocean to Seanchan and to refuse Aes Sedai healing at his deathbed. Tamika, Artur's wife, did not trust Moerad, who frequently disappeared for long periods of time and anyone who questioned him disappeared. Also, it is said he was half mad. Jalwin disappeared roughly after 40 years, supporting Aran's theory.
After his release from the prison permanently, he haunted Rand until the Dragon Reborn finally killed him with Callandor.
Resurrected as Moridin, which means death in the Old Tongue, he was named Nae'blis by the Dark One, the coveted position that sets him above the other Forsaken. He controls Cyndane and Moghedien.
Lanfear, which means Daughter of the Night, was born Mierin Eronaile. She is considered to be the most powerful female of the Chosen. In her early life, she was involved in a relationship with Lews Therin Telamon himself, but he broke it off when he realized Mierin desired only power. This, of Lanfear, is absolutely true. Even when serving the Dark One, she seems to put her needs first, baffling her fellow Chosen. She is stunningly beautiful, even more so than Graendal. She has dark eyes and pitch black, flowing hair and she is tall, only a hand shorter than Rand. She has always loved Lews Therin, even after he broke off with her. She believed he would have continued loving her if not for Ilyena. She has transferred her love for Lews to Rand.
When her affair with Lews Therin ended, she became a researcher at the Collam Daan, a world famous school in the Age of Legends. With a team of experts, she headed the project to find a new source of power, one that both men and woman could use. It was the most important research of the Age; the possibilities were endless if it was discovered. However Mierin, thinking she had at last found this new source, actually stumbled upon the Dark One's prison, who had been sealed there since creation. Opening his prison, the Dark One was allowed to touch the Pattern; at this very instant, the Collapse had begun. Soon after crashing Lews and Ilyena's wedding she pledged allegiance to the very thing she had released: the Shadow. She chose her own name, Lanfear, and made public her alliance in the Hall of Servants. She considers herself the master of Tel'aran'rhiod, even though Moghedien could easily outstrip her.
When she awoke from the seal, she immediately sought Rand out, under the guise of Selene, a beautiful woman. She often used her beauty to try and seduce Rand; she would constantly urge him to grasp glory and power, although he refused. She disappeared, but turned up again, this time posing as a peddler in the Waste named Keille Shaogi, along with Asmodean, posing as a gleeman named Jasin Natael. Shielding Asmodean, allowing him only to channel a trickle of saidin, she forced him to teach Rand to use the One Power. She confronted Rand at the end of The Fires of Heaven, meaning to kill him. Moiraine tackled her while she was focusing on Rand, and they fell into the red gateway, which burned to the ground, trapping them both in the land of foxes.
Reincarnated by the Dark One, she is now Cyndane, which in the Old Tongue means "last chance". She is mind-trapped by Moridin and now travels with Moghedien.
Born Saine Tarasind, she was denied a place at the Collam Daan during the Age of Legends, so became a teacher instead. Desiring real power, she turned to the Shadow during the Collapse. She is described as a woman of tall stature, with a habit of tapping her nails against her lips.
During the War of Power, Mesaana was an administrator of conquered territories. Described as a brutal and efficient governor, what set her apart from the other Chosen during the War was that she founded many schools for children in conquered territories, schools designed to immerse children in the teachings of the Dark One, in the hope of them becoming faithful servants. The children were taught to spy on each other and their parents, and to report any illegal activity. Mobs of these children burned down museums, libraries and research facilities, anything that detracted from the Dark One. People of all ages were tried before courts entirely made of children, then executed. When Lews Therin Telamon sealed the Chosen and the Dark One in the Bore, the children became rampant mobs; calling themselves Mesaana's Children, they were determined to destroy the world faster than the male Aes'Sedai during the Breaking.
Mesaana now controls the Black Ajah in the White Tower, where she resides. Much speculation has been made over which sister she poses as; most clues point to her being a Brown, probably Danelle. Other than helping Bel'al set up the trap for Rand in Tear, she has kept a relatively low profile, but recently has been active in controlling Alviarin, the Keeper of the Chronicles in the White Tower. It is said that Mesaana, Demandred and Semhirage have been working together since the War of Power.
Lillen Moiral was over 200 years old, considered young for an Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends, when the Bore was opened. She was a financial consultant, who was disciplined repeatedly for breaking the rules and ethics of her job. She turned to the Shadow in the early stages of the Collapse, although she did not make this public until halfway through the War. She is described as being sturdily handsome with large dark eyes and hair to her shoulders. She is stern like a big sister.
During the War she was of middle rank in Lews Therin's command structure, but secretly ran an intelligence organization for the Shadow. She was eventually discovered; in order to escape, she sabotaged a public transportation vehicle, narrowly escaping. Thousands were killed.
After being released from the Bore, she disguised herself as a merchant's servant to keep an eye on Liandrin and the other Black sisters in Tanchico. There, she fought Nynaeve and lost. She turned up in Amadicia, taking control of Liandrin and company. She found Nynaeve and Birgitte in Tel'alan'rhiod, and tore Birgitte out of the Dream World, which Moghedien considers herself the master of.
Moghedien disguised herself again, this time as Marigan. She sailed with Nynaeve and Elayne to Salidar, but she got sloppy and Nynaeve caught her in Tel'alan'rhiod. Elayne made a sort of a'dam for her. Elayne and Nynaeve extracted secrets of the One Power from her.
Halima set her free in Salidar. She was immediately summoned to Shayol Ghul, where she became the property of Moridin.
Moghedien is named after a spider from the Age of Legends, who prefers to make its web in hidden places. Its strike was deadly. Moghedien takes no risks; she is always cautious, lurking in the shadows until someone displays weakness, then strikes.
Born Ared Mosinel. Tall dark and as handsome as Lanfear was beautiful with a very deep chest, strong hands and wings of white at his temples and dark eyes. Incredibly proud, he loves power, and is envious of anyone who has some. Much preferring diplomacy over outright attack using subtle compulsion and manipulation, but he can be very hard. He always chooses his risks with prudence. He is very strong in the One Power, being stronger than Lanfear was, and almost as strong as Rand.
He turned to the Shadow because of his thirst for power. Through his manipulations he had several regions surrender without invasion. He was an efficient Governor, but with a lack of attention to detail. He loves women and being flattered. He rarely had a woman without using compulsion.
Upon his release from the bore, he moved to Caemlyn. When the riots in Caemlyn started (probably by him), he became the leader of the faction supporting Morgase. He put the riots down, and Morgase promoted him to Elaida's old post.
He had much more trouble with Morgase than expected, with her mind trying to find an escape from his compulsion. She finally managed to run away, leading to rumours of her death. Rahvin soon claimed the throne for himself, as well as the throne of Cairhien.
When Rand heard of Morgase's death, he raided Caemlyn intent on revenge for Elayne which he did with the help of Nynaeve. He killed Rahvin with balefire, which undid the death of Aviendha and Mat.
Blue eyes, blond hair, and a handsome face, other than the scar running from his hairline to his jaw. Tel Janin Aellinsar was not as tall as his friend, Lews Therin Telamon. Tel Janin truly believed that people were judged for their height and not their abilities; he always regretted the fact that the One Power he wielded could not make him taller. However, his jealousy of Lews was small in comparison to Demandred's.
Tel Janin Aellinsar was a world renowned athlete in archery and swordsmanship. When the War of Power broke out, he proved to be an excellent general, fighting alongside his old friend, Lews Therin. When Lews became Commander for the forces of the Light, Sammael chose the Shadow. Graendal herself escorted him to Shayol Ghul. His betrayal is chronicled as follows: "After Sammael betrayed the Gates of Hevan he carried the Shadow down into the Rorn M'doi and the heart of Satelle. Hope seemed to die that day. Culan Cuhan wept." (Fires of Heaven)
After being released, he became Lord Brend, quickly taking over the Council of Nine in Illian. He was also hunting angreal and sa'angreal, for reasons unknown. He disguised himself as Caddar, a man who approached Sevanna and the Shaido and tricked them into being dispersed acrosse the continent, causing damage to Rand's reputation. He was last seen in Shadar Logoth, with Mashadar almost upon him. He is presumed dead.
Born Nemene Damendar Boann. Taller than most men and well proportioned with long slender fingers. She is graceful and calm with dark eyes and dark skin. She enjoys the simple pleasure of needlework. Because Lanfear wears white, Semirhage wore black. Semirhage was the best Restorer ever, being called from anywhere at an instant to Heal the impossible. However once she had Healed her patients, she like to extract some pain from them. Most were too happy to be alive to worry about a bit of torture, although if she thought they didn't deserve to live, she would kill them. When the Hall of Servants found out, she was given the choice of being bound from sadism, or severing. She chose Shayol Ghul instead and was one of the first to become Chosen.
She hates Aes Sedai totally, and exacted revenge on members of the Hall of Servants, by breaking them and having them proclaim publicly for the Dark One. She governed many times with cruelty and violence that stands out among the chosen. She discovered how to turn a channeler to the shadow with a circle of thirteen channelers and thirteen Myrddraal.
Semirhage takes enormous pleasure in cruelty and anguish. She once tortured an entire city with everyone breaking each other slowly until they all died. Loved ones and friends breaking the spirit of each other, just to show she could. She also once made a man scream every waking moment for five years, and kept him sane. His heart finally failed. A prisoner being told they were being handed to Semirhage would try to commit suicide. She considers death as an escape.
Semirhage, Demandred and Mesaana have apparently been working together since before the War of Power. Semirhage has an intimate knowledge of the brain and its pain and pleasure centres, and uses these as a form of Compulsion. It was Semirhage who sent the Trollocs and Myrddraal to save Rand from Sammael's Trollocs and Myrddraal in the Stone of Tear.
Agents of the Shadow
He is one of the most dangerous creatures in the known world, as dangerous as any Forsaken. Padan Fain was a peddler, who became a darkfriend in his twenties; his greed could not ignore the promise of immortality. As a peddler he came to Emond's Field every spring, and loved being the centre of attention.
Sometime in 996 NE he was chosen for a special task: to seek the Dragon Reborn. He journeyed to Shayol Ghul and met Ba'alzammon, who gave him Dark properties, abilities which made him a hunter. In 997 NE he journeyed back to Shayol Ghul and his mind was distilled of his findings. By 998 NE, given the special ability to track the ones he was seeking, he had narrowed his search to three boys, who just so happened to live in Emond's Field. After performing rites on himself which bound him even closer to the Dark One, he brought the Trollocs and Myrddraal to Emond's Field on Winternight.
He was forced to join the Trollocs in the hunt for Moiraine and company. When they led them to Shadar Logoth, he managed to escape, only to be trapped by Mordeth, who at last had found the soul he needed to command so he could escape the damned city. But because the Dark One had touched and changed Fain's soul, Mordeth could only merge with Fain.
The resulting entity was considered a maverick by the forces of the Dark One; Fain resented the changes forced upon him and Mordeth was so hateful of the Shadow that his hate created Shadar Logoth. After this merger, his compulsion to hunt Rand, Mat and Perrin grew even more, aided by the fact that he could already sense where they were. Following them to Fal Dara in Shienar, he removed his binds to Ba'alzamon and, in the chaos of the attack against the city by the Shadow, escaped with Mat's dagger and the Horn of Valere.
He led Rand, Mat, Perrin, Verin and Ingtar to Seanchan occupied Falme, where he lost the Dagger and the Horn. He recovered the dagger in Tar Valon; he feels complete with it. Calling himself Ordeith (wormwood), he changed strategies in his hunt. He took the road of clever manipulation: he advised Pedron Niall and Elaida to be totally against Rand. He successfully convinced Niall to send Whitecloaks to the Two Rivers, to tempt Rand.
His abilities are powerful. He can corrupt people by just being in their presence; he can sense fear and tension and can tell a Darkfriend on sight. He has also developed a way to inflict pain by touch - the touch can be deadly of just harmful, depending on his mood. He is very likely insane and is wanted by the Shadow. Isam was sent to kill him but failed miserably.
He changed his name to Jeraal Mordeth, and sought out Toram Riatin, leader of the Cairhienen rebellion against Rand, whom he advised. When Rand showed up, he sliced him with the Shadar Logoth dagger, nearly killing the Dragon Reborn.
He is still at large, and no doubt still hunting Rand. One final note: He is not a normal entity, has sidestepped the pattern, and his new amalgamation is unheard of in this age.
Slayer is the merger of two souls, Lord Isam Mandragoran and Lord Luc Mantear. Little is known about this dark creature, nor his origins. Isam was of royal blood in the Kingdom of Malkier. In fact, he was Lan's cousin. When the Malkier was overrun by Trollocs, Isam was one of the few Malkieri to escape. His mother took him south but they were attacked by Trollocs.
Luc was brother to Tigraine, and a prince of Andor. Luc is also Rand's blood uncle - brother of Tigraine. Gitara Moroso, the Aes Sedai who possessed the Fortelling, urged him to seek his glory in the Blight. It is speculated by many fans that this is where Luc and Isam merged, becoming a sort of Super Darkfriend. The Slayer killed Janduin, Rand's biological father, when he came into the Blight.
Somehow, both of them survived in the Blight. They met in the Mountain of Dhoom and merged into a something new. The slayer has many abilities. He can appear in both forms in the world of flesh, but he is also master of the World of Dreams and can change easily as well. Slayer is his wolf name. He can also enter the Tower of Ghenji. It's quite possible that he has something to do with creating Darkhounds and can be connected with the big unsolved murder of Asmodean and it is remotely possible that Slayer killed the two Aes Sedai Adeleas and Ispan in Book 8. It also seems clear that both Luc and Isam's personalities have survived intact, and that Luc is just as evil as Isam. In fact, they seem to be quite the bosom buddies.
His attempt to kill Padan Fain in the Two Rivers was unsuccessful, and he feared Perrin. He still hunts Ordeith, but recently tried to kill Rand and Min. It was he who mysteriously killed the Grey Man who tried to kill Egwene in the White Tower. He also killed the Black Ajah sisters Amico Nagoyin and Joya Byir, who were being held in the Stone of Tear.
However, this new information still doesn't cast a lot of light on how this merge of two people came to be, and in fact muddies the issue even more. If Slayer is not a case of possession, then what is he? How much of Luc's future did Gitara Moroso see when she sent Luc to his doom?
A Myrdraal with the normal powers: can see with no eyes, strikes fear by looking at him and can disappear in the shadows. However, he is a head taller than most Myrdraal, can shield channelers from the True Source, and has a sense of humour. He is the voice of the Dark One, he speaks for the Dark One. His name literally means "Hand of the Dark" in the language of the Trollocs. He is usually the bringer of bad news; he summons the other Forsaken to Shayol Ghul. He cannot be away from that place for long, and wishes to sever his ties from there. It might be the first occurrence of Dark One's appearance.